Saanich councillors are praising a revised plan for a new gymnasium Pacific Christian School plans to build.
Council first heard plans for the new facility in April 2014 after the school had purchased two properties on Hess Crescent on which the school was planning to construct the new building.
Concerns about the physical appearance, environmental sustainability, and impacts on the immediate neighbourhood eventually led to revisions.
The newest proposal puts the proposed facility on the site of the smaller existing gymnasium to be torn down, adjacent to the Pat Bay Highways. In turn, PCS’s two Hess Crescent properties will become an outdoor playing space that would include two playgrounds.
Revisions also call for a more visually interesting building, whose design would be more energy efficient, and has amenities such as lighting that will help prevent crime.
Council voted unanimously to move the latest proposal to a public hearing for additional input.
“We think it’s a much better proposal than what we got to you two years ago,” said Jim Mann of CEI Architecture.
Coun. Judy Brownoff, reflecting council’s general attitude towards the revised proposal, agrees. “I still remember the original proposal and this is far superior,” she says.
PSC principal David O’Dell said the new gymnasium will improve physical education and athletics, noting that volleyball rallies frequently end with the ball hitting the current gymnasium’s low ceiling.
The revised proposal also promises to improve the neighbourhood through additional green space and playgrounds, he adds.
“The actual property will be hugely improved and so is the facility,” he says.